A dangerous escalation of the trade war is due to kick in tonight, Washington time, with a steep increase in punitive American tariffs on Chinese exports. China has vowed to retaliate, and vice-premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He was expected in the US capital yesterday for the latest round of negotiations, cut short by a day after President Donald Trump tweeted his sudden tariffs threat last weekend. Hopes that Liu can head them off are dim.
Assuming that a degree of reason does not prevail at the eleventh hour, a worst-case scenario of no deal and an all-out trade war looms. Containing the fallout is paramount. It is not confined to bilateral relations.